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Thread: Path to Energy Consumption Ambient Indicator

  1. #1
    Automated Home Ninja Andrew Millne's Avatar
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    Default Path to Energy Consumption Ambient Indicator

    In my new flat I have a skylight that runs from the roof to ceiling and at ceiling level there is some corrugated plastic sheeting. It doesn't look too attractive at the minute but I have an idea on how to improve it and at the same time add some new geeky stuff.

    What I had in mind was to replace the corrugated plastic with a translucent frosted sheet of glass and above it install some RGB LED lighting in the void. I have a CC128 current cost meter that I was hoping to somehow have Cortex interpret and utilise to control the lighting colour in the void. e.g. green for low consumption, red for high.

    Does anybody have any ideas on how to achieve this? I'm not familiar with colour changing LEDs but I understand that some can be controlled by a 0-10v output from an Idratek 0-10V analogue output module? I presume there would need to be a new object for this scenario within Cortex?

  2. #2

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    Hi Andrew,

    Im not familiar with the 0-10V dimmer packs but assume they work the same as the analogue dimmer packs that were commonplace before DMX was introduced.

    0v = OFF, 10V = 100% Brightness.

    If thats the case then you would need 3 analogue outputs to drive the indiviual colours and could mix any colour you desire.

    If the LED Dimmer pack only has a single 0-10V input then its possible that it creates colours based on the input voltage so to get individual colours you would need to know what voltages to send it, but if that was the case it would be in the documentation.

    Keith
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  3. #3

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    BTW.... I would also include manual control so you can select the colour.... would be a bit expensive if you had to turn every appliance in the house on just so you could have a red skylight LOL
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  4. #4
    Automated Home Ninja Andrew Millne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by katman View Post
    BTW.... I would also include manual control so you can select the colour.... would be a bit expensive if you had to turn every appliance in the house on just so you could have a red skylight LOL
    Good point Thanks for clarifying the lighting side of things, I'll start looking around for suitable products. Can anybody shed any light on the Idratek/control side of things?

  5. #5
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    We have a 0-10V RGB dimmer available. This controls each colour separately.
    We are currently working on a manual control for this. So you have three rotary controls one for each colour. There are also DMX RGB dimmers as well, which aren't that expensive, about 60 to 80 euros.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
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  6. #6
    Automated Home Legend Karam's Avatar
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    I think the main question will be how to get the output from the CC128 into Cortex. You might perhaps write your own code to receive and interpret the CC128 data and then use this to manipulate analogue output values via the Cortex API, or alternatively there might be some existing xAP route to get the data into a Cortex metering object. The latter has multiple threshold capabilities so that you can set different colours (analogue output value sets for the 3 R G B channels) based on different consumption levels.

  7. #7
    Automated Home Jr Member Ad's Avatar
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    Whilst I know zilch about Cortex/Idratek I do know abit about the CC128 and writing scripts, I've seen that Cortex supports the Microsoft scripting engine...I wrote a script for Homeseer in VB.NET that outputs the data from the CC128 (and I did intend to build an RGB indicator myself out of a PIC and some transistors, serially controlled) and may give you some ideas how you can output the data, parse the XML and then hopefully Idratek has commands you can use to set the light levels.

    Some of the scripts are here http://forums.homeseer.com/showthrea...t=CC128&page=3

    The just one thing to think about perhaps is working out a form of smooth transition - I did see a PIC project some time ago that took serial commands and dealt with fading itself on the PIC which may be an option if you are good with building circuits...

  8. #8
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Default There is another way

    There is another way to do this. When using long runs of RGB LED strip lights you need to use an RGB signal amplifier which basically amplifies the input voltage for the RGB Leds back up to the 12V or 24V max. You could use one of these and a 0 to 10V controller for each colour.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
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  9. #9
    Moderator Kevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karam View Post
    ....or alternatively there might be some existing xAP route to get the data into a Cortex metering object.
    There is indeed a xAP conduit for the Current Cost* but it presents the accumulated / current numerical values for the consumption rather than converting the readings to a series of pulses that emulate a standard KWHr pulse meter. This is as most people want but I think makes integration with a Cortex Metering Object not possible.

    Also AIUI it is not possible to get any useful output connections from a Cortex Metering object - for example to know the current level of consumption or the accumulated value, I tried via xAP and couldn't see a way so I popped in a feature request a few months back which I hope will mbubble up the 'ToDo' list eventually.

    Also .. there is a xAP to DMX gateway too should you be interested. It's a small PC application that talks to a low cost (50 ish) DMX controller. You could send messages to this from Cortex for each of the RGB channels by creating 3 or 4 virtual dimmer devices.

    K

    * The Current Cost xAP application is a beta version and was originally written for the earlier version of Current Cost - I am not sure how maintained the release has been.. I can put you in touch with the (other) Kevin who wrote this should you need...

  10. #10
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Don't know if this could be interfaced into Idratek, but if you fancy rolling your own RGB LED system then this may be interesting. http://groovygamegear.com/webstore/i...roducts_id=239
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
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